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A methodological proposal for the climate change risk assessment of coastal habitats based on the evaluation of ecosystem services : lessons learnt from the INTERREG project ECO-SMART
Alberto Barausse, Cécil J. W. Meulenberg, Irene Occhipinti, Marco Abordi, Lara Endrizzi, Giovanna Guadagnin, Mirco Piron, Francesca Visintin, Liliana Vižintin, Alessandro Manzardo, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Climate change is seriously impacting coastal biodiversity and the benefits it provides to humans. This issue is particularly relevant in the case of the European Union’s Natura 2000 network of areas for nature protection, where the sensitivity of local ecosystems calls for intervention to increase resistance and resilience to climate-related risks. Given the complex ways in which climate can influence conservation hotspot areas, there is a need to develop effective strategic approaches and general operational models to identify priorities for management and inform adaptation and mitigation measures. Here, a novel methodological proposal to perform climate risk assessment in Natura 2000 sites is presented that implements the systematic approach of ISO 14090 in combination with the theoretical framework of ecosystem services assessment and local stakeholder participation to identify climate-related issues for local protected habitats and improve the knowledge base needed to plan sustainable conservation and restoration measures. The methodology was applied to five Natura 2000 sites located along the Adriatic coast of Italy and Slovenia. Results show that each of the assessed sites, despite being along the coast of the same sea, is affected by different climate-related issues, impacting different habitats and corresponding ecosystem services. This novel methodology enables a simple and rapid screening for the prioritization of conservation actions and of the possible further investigations needed to support decision making, and was found to be robust and of general applicability. These findings highlight the importance of designing site-specific adaptation measures, tailored to address the peculiar response to climate change of each site in terms of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Keywords: ecosystem, ecosystem services, climate change adaptation, nature conservation, sustainability, coastal management
Published in DiRROS: 01.07.2022; Views: 97; Downloads: 73
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Farmers' preferences for result-based schemes for grassland conservation in Slovenia
Tanja Šumrada, Anže Japelj, Miroslav Verbič, Emil Erjavec, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Government-funded payments for ecosystem services (PES) have increasingly been used to facilitate transactions between users of environmental services and their providers. In order to improve the link between payments and the service provided, some countries in the EU have promoted result-based schemes (RBS), which remunerate farmers for ecological results, as part of their agricultural policy. Since PES programs are voluntary, it is important to understand farmers’ responses before more large-scale implementations of RBS are initiated. Using a choice experiment and a mixed logit model, we elicited the preferences of farmers in two Natura 2000 sites in Slovenia for different design elements of a hypothetical scheme for dry grassland conservation. We found that the majority of farmers preferred the result-based approach over the management-based scheme both in terms of payment conditions and monitoring; one group of farmers preferred the RBS very strongly (average WTA of more than 500 EUR/ha/yr) and another group less strongly (average WTA about 200 EUR/ha/yr). Farmers also showed a higher preference for on-farm advise and training in small groups than for lectures, which would be offered to a larger audience. A collective bonus, which would incentivise coordination and could potentially increase participation rates in the scheme, significantly influenced the farmers’ willingness to adopt the scheme. However, the estimated average WTA was comparable or lower than the 40 EUR/ha annual bonus payment. Older farmers and those who managed small and semi-subsistent farms were significantly more likely to be highly resistant to scheme adoption no matter its design.
Keywords: agrarna politika, kmetijstvo, subvencije, ekosistemske storitve, plačilo za ekosistemske storitve, agricultural policy, agriculture, subsidies, payments for ecosystem services, abiodiversity conservation
Published in DiRROS: 04.02.2022; Views: 254; Downloads: 198
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Agricultural landscape affects sex-specific differences in the abundance of Drosophila suzukii in raspberry orchards
Maarten De Groot, Magda Rak Cizej, Andreja Kavčič, Špela Modic, Franček Poličnik, Nina Šramel, Primož Žigon, Jaka Razinger, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: In recent decades, the spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) (Drosophila suzukii), an invasive pest, has caused a great deal of damage to fruit crops. There is therefore an urgent need to develop strategies to control the populations of this species. It has been found that the landscape context can buffer or increase the severity of pest outbreaks in agriculture, and it is important to understand how this process works in SWD for all crops. Given this background, we investigated the influence of forest on SWD populations in raspberry orchards and surrounding agricultural land. We selected 10 locations in the central part of Slovenia, five of which were closer than 200 m from the forest edge and five of which were more than 200 m from the forest edge. We collected SWD adults in three habitat types per location from the end of June until the end of October 2020. The results showed that forest harboured a larger SWD population than orchards and agricultural land. Over the season, the number of individuals increased exponentially over time, and the difference between forest and other habitat types increased. The distance from the forest had a negative effect on the abundance of SWD. There was a difference in abundance observed between males and females, with males being less abundant farther away from the forest than females. However, the distance from the forest only had a negative effect on the abundance of females in September. Based on the results, we propose potential measures for the control of SWD in raspberry orchards.
Keywords: agricultural ecosystem, integrated pest management, invasive species, raspberry, spotted wing drosophila
Published in DiRROS: 15.11.2021; Views: 351; Downloads: 306
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KEYLINK : towards a more integrative soil representation for inclusion in ecosystem scale models : I. : review and model concept
Gabrielle I. Deckmyn, Omar Flores, Mathias Mayer, Xavier Domene, Andrea Schnepf, Katrin Kuka, Kris van Looy, Daniel P. Rasse, Maria J.I. Briones, Sébastien Barot, Matty Berg, E. I. Vanguelova, Ivika Ostonen, Harry Vereecken, Laura Martinez Suz, Beat Frey, Aline Frossard, Alexei Tiunov, Jan Frouz, Tine Grebenc, Maarja Öpik, Mathieu Javaux, Alexei Uvarov, Olga Vindušková, Paul Henning Krogh, Oskar Franklin, Juan Jiménez, Jorge Curiel Yuste, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: The relatively poor simulation of the below-ground processes is a severe drawback for many ecosystem models, especially when predicting responses to climate change and management. For a meaningful estimation of ecosystem production and the cycling of water, energy, nutrients and carbon, the integration of soil processes and the exchanges at the surface is crucial. It is increasingly recognized that soil biota play an important role in soil organic carbon and nutrient cycling, shaping soil structure and hydrological properties through their activity, and in water and nutrient uptake by plants through mycorrhizal processes. In this article, we review the main soil biological actors (microbiota, fauna and roots) and their effects on soil functioning. We review to what extent they have been included in soil models and propose which of them could be included in ecosystem models. We show that the model representation of the soil food web, the impact of soil ecosystem engineers on soil structure and the related effects on hydrology and soil organic matter (SOM) stabilization are key issues in improving ecosystem-scale soil representation in models. Finally, we describe a new core model concept (KEYLINK) that integrates insights from SOM models, structural models and food web models to simulate the living soil at an ecosystem scale.
Keywords: soil fauna, model, Soil Organic Matter, SOM, hydrology, pore size distribution, PSD, soil biota, ecosystem
Published in DiRROS: 23.09.2020; Views: 941; Downloads: 747
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Blind spots in global soil biodiversity and ecosystem function research
Carlos A. Guerra, Anna Heintz-Buschart, Johannes Sikorski, Antonis Chatzinotas, Nathaly Guerrero-Ramírez, Simone Cesarz, Léa Beaumelle, Matthias C. Rillig, Fernando T. Maestre, Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo, Tine Grebenc, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: Soils harbor a substantial fraction of the world's biodiversity, contributing to many crucial ecosystem functions. It is thus essential to identify general macroecological patterns related to the distribution and functioning of soil organisms to support their conservation and consideration by governance. These macroecological analyses need to represent the diversity of environmental conditions that can be found worldwide. Here we identify and characterize existing environmental gaps in soil taxa and ecosystem functioning data across soil macroecological studies and 17,186 sampling sites across the globe. These data gaps include important spatial, environmental, taxonomic, and functional gaps, and an almost complete absence of temporally explicit data. We also identify the limitations of soil macroecological studies to explore general patterns in soil biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships, with only 0.3% of all sampling sites having both information about biodiversity and function, although with different taxonomic groups and functions at each site. Based on this information, we provide clear priorities to support and expand soil macroecological research.
Keywords: soil, biodiversity, ecosystem services, blind spots, macroecological research
Published in DiRROS: 27.08.2020; Views: 984; Downloads: 1090
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Evaluation of forest edge structure and stability in peri-urban forests
David Hladnik, Andrej Kobler, Janez Pirnat, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: In the presented research, we studied the forest edge structure of urban and peri-urban forests on the outskirts of Ljubljana (Slovenia) consisting of a number of patches covering the collective surface of 1884 ha. They differ from each other according to the degree of fragmentation and by the share of the interior forest area. On the basis of LiDAR data, we conducted an analysis of the edges of the persistent forest patches and estimated them with regard to the land use they bordered on. The horizontal estimation of forest edges and the changes of forest edges, in the last decades, were estimated using digital orthophoto images of cyclic aerial surveys of Slovenia, from 1975 to 2018. The data, provided by LiDAR, were used to obtain an accurate estimate of forest edges and the metrics of their vertical canopy structure. On the basis of the canopy height model (CHM), we determined the height classes, the heights of the tallest trees, and indices of canopy height diversity (CHD) as variables subjected to a k-means cluster analysis. To determine the forest edge and trees stability, their heights and diameters at breast height (DBH) were measured and their canopy length and h/d (height/diameter) dimension ratios were estimated. In the study area of the Golovec forest patch, more than half of the forest edge segments (56%) border on residential buildings. After the construction of buildings, 54% of the newly formed forest edges developed a high and steep structure. Unfavorable h/d dimension ratio was estimated for 16% of trees, more among the coniferous than among the deciduous trees. Similar characteristics of newly formed forest edges bordering on built-up areas were determined in other sub-urban forest patches, despite the smaller share of such forest edges (19% and 10%, respectively). Tools and methods presented in the research enable the implementation of concrete silvicultural practices in a realistic time period and extend to ensure that adequate forestry measures are taken to minimize possible disturbances.
Keywords: forest ecosystem services, forest edge stability, forest edge structure, LiDAR, urban forests
Published in DiRROS: 26.05.2020; Views: 1289; Downloads: 643
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Cultural ecosystem services provided by the biodiversity of forest soils : a European review
Jurga Motiejunaite, Isabella Børja, Ivika Ostonen, Mark Bakker, Brynhildur Bjarnadottir, Ivano Brunner, Reda Iršenaite, Tanja Mrak, Edda Oddsdottir, Tarja Lehto, 2019, original scientific article

Abstract: Soil is one of the most species-rich habitats and plays a crucial role in the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. It is acknowledged that soils and their biota deliver many ecosystem services. However, up to now, cultural ecosystem services (CES) provided by soil biodiversity remained virtually unknown. Here we present a multilingual and multisubject literature review on cultural benefits provided by belowground biota in European forests. We found 226 papers mentioning impact of soil biota on the cultural aspects of human life. According to the reviewed literature, soil organisms contribute to all CES. Impact on CES, as reflected in literature, was highest for fungi and lowest for microorganisms and mesofauna. Cultural benefits provided by soil biota clearly prevailed in the total of the reviewed references, but there were also negative effects mentioned in six CES. The same organism groups or even individual species may have negative impacts within one CES and at the same time act as an ecosystem service provider for another CES. The CES were found to be supported at several levels of ecosystem service provision: from single species to two or more functional/taxonomical groups and in some cases morphological diversity acted as a surrogate for species diversity. Impact of soil biota on CES may be both direct % by providing the benefits (or dis-benefits) and indirect through the use of the products or services obtained from these benefits. The CES from soil biota interacted among themselves and with other ES, but more than often, they did not create bundles, because there exist temporal fluctuations in value of CES and a time lag between direct and indirect benefits. Strong regionality was noted for most of CES underpinned by soil biota: the same organism group or species may have strong impact on CES (positive, negative or both) in some regions while no, minor or opposite effects in others. Contrarily to the CES based on landscapes, in the CES provided by soil biota distance between the ecosystem and its CES benefiting area is shorter (CES based on landscapes are used less by local people and more by visitors, meanwhile CES based on species or organism groups are used mainly by local people). Our review revealed the existence of a considerable amount of spatially fragmented and semantically rich information highlighting cultural values provided by forest soil biota in Europe.
Keywords: soil biota, forests, soil ecosystem services, Europe
Published in DiRROS: 20.02.2020; Views: 1230; Downloads: 624
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Measuring techniques for concentration and stable isotopologues of CO2 in a terrestrial ecosystem : a review
Grega E. Voglar, Saša Zavadlav, Tom Levanič, Mitja Ferlan, 2019, review article

Abstract: Measurements of carbon dioxide and their stable isotopes are propulsive research tool in ecology and environmental science as they can give us insight into carbon cycle. They are widely used to investigate both natural and anthropogenic carbon sources in the atmosphere, hydrosphere and geosphere, as well as the exchange between these reservoirs. In this paper, we provide a basic overview of two different analytical measurement techniques, isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) and laser-absorption spectroscopy (LAS) which have been developed and utilized for monitoring of CO2 isotopologues in ecosystem. We present the basics for each technique, however with the emphasis on LAS measurement technique we are targeting readers who are not familiar with this topic. A major objective of this paper is to illustrate the current value and future potential of various analytical instruments in a wide range of applications deployed in the terrestrial ecosystem. Finally, we draw a conclusion from recent research campaigns by presenting a decision tree to better understand and choose a correct application combination for a selected scale of ecosystem.
Keywords: Isotope ratio mass spectrometry, laser-absorption spectroscopy, CO2 isotopologues, terrestrial ecosystem, decision tree, spectroscopic databases
Published in DiRROS: 18.02.2020; Views: 1288; Downloads: 458
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